Showing posts from October, 2008

Niger, West Africa - Where Slavery is still practiced

Sold into slavery at the age of 12, Hadijatou Mani says she was forced to labour for her master and his family for 10 years.

She quickly became one of several sexual slaves, or "sadakas" and was made to bear her master's children. She was subjected to regular beatings.

Now the former slave from Niger has won a landmark case against her government, which a regional West African court found had failed to protect her.

The court has ordered the government to pay her 10m CFA francs (£12,430; $19,750) in compensation.

"I will be able to build a house, raise animals and farm land to support my family. I will also be able to send my children to school so they can have the education I was never allowed as a slave," Ms Mani said afterwards.

The ruling could have broad implications for countries nearby where slavery is still practised, including Mauritania, Burkina Faso and Mali, according to observers.

Human rights organisations say more than 40,000 people are still in slavery…

Jennifer Hudson's Mother and Brother Shot Dead and Nephew Missing

A Fatal shoot out left the mother and brother of Academy Award-winning actress Jennifer Hudson dead in the mother's Chicago home - about five miles from the home of the presidential candidate Barack Obama.

The police said that a seven-year-old boy, named Julian King who is possibly the nephew of Hudson, was possibly abducted from the scene and may be in the company of William Balfour, a suspect in the double homicide investigation.

Police spokeswoman Monique Bond said the deaths appeared to be the result of a domestic incident.

Deputy Chief Joseph Patterson told reporters that a family member entered the home around 3pm today and found a woman fatally shot on the living room floor. That person left the house to notify police.

When Chicago police searched the house, they found a man fatally shot in the bedroom, Patterson said. There was no sign of forced entry.

Authorities were looking for a 1994 white Chevrolet missing from the area around the home with seven-year-old Julian King insid…

Does Asha Mandela have the World's Longest Dreadlocks?

Asha Mandela, 46, said she started letting her hair grow 20 years ago. Today, it measures 8-feet, 9-inches long. She's submitted her hair's length to the Guinness Book of World Records in hopes of being the first entry in a new category of World's Longest Dreadlocks.

Her dreadlocks, which she started growing 20 years ago, are longer than she is tall. She cradles her locks in her arms like a baby. She wraps them around her neck like a scarf. She lets them hang down her back and trail behind her like a bridal veil.

Mandela said says she "used to wash it three times a week. Now I do it once a week. It's very tiring. Sometimes I don't have the energy."

It takes one bottle of shampoo and one bottle of conditioner every time she washes her hair and can sometimes take days to fully dry after she washes it.

Asha Mandela, 46, believes she has the longest dreadlocks (like those pictured here) in the world. Measuring 8'9", she's submitted her name to the Gu…

Beyonce changes her name to Sasha Fierce

Music World Music/Columbia Records is releasing I Am… Sasha Fierce, the new full-length double album from international superstar and cultural icon Beyoncé on Tuesday, November 18.

"The new record is a double album and has two covers, like a magazine would have two covers," Beyoncé revealed. "One of the covers is named I Am… and the second cover is named Sasha Fierce. That is my alter ego and now she has a last name.”

One of 2008's most hotly anticipated new album releases, Beyoncé's new album is the artist's first new studio collection since the Grammy-winning multi-platinum-selling B'Day debuted at #1 on charts around the world shortly after its international release on September 4, 2006 (in celebration of Beyoncé's 25th birthday).

Beyoncé's fans got their first taste of the two sides of I Am… Sasha Fierce with the simultaneous release in early October of "If I Were A Boy" (from I Am…) and "Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)" (fr…

Sarah Palin's $150,000 Spending on Clothing and Make-up

Since her selection as John McCain's running mate, the Republican National Committee spent more than $150,000 on clothing and make-up for Gov. Sarah Palin, her husband, and even her infant son, it was reported on Tuesday evening.

That entertaining scoop -- which came by way of Politico -- sent almost immediate reverberations through the presidential race. A statement from McCain headquarters released hours after the article bemoaned the triviality of the whole affair.

"With all of the important issues facing the country right now, it's remarkable that we're spending time talking about pantsuits and blouses," said spokesperson Tracey Schmitt. "It was always the intent that the clothing go to a charitable purpose after the campaign."

But even the most timid of Democrats are unlikely to heed this call for civility. For starters, the story has the potential to dampen enthusiasm among GOP activists and donors at a critical point in the presidential race. It als…

Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) A West African Plague

Cross-border female genital mutilation / cutting (FGM/C) is on the rise in West Africa according to the UN, spurring the need to impose a region-wide law banning the practice, say experts.

Experts from the region met this week to discuss how to eliminate FGM/C across West Africa, at a conference sponsored by the UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) in the Burkina Faso capital Ouagadougou.

A study sponsored by UNIFEM to be released in late October 2008 said circumcisers or girls who undergo circumcision are increasingly crossing borders to perform or undergo the procedure to operate in countries with weaker FGM/C laws, and border police can do little to stop the flow.

"There is a lack of collaboration among governments across borders because the issue is so politically sensitive to manage," said Dieneba Ouedraogo, coordinator of the International Centre for Research Training and Action (CIRFA). As a result, she said governments have shied away from collaborating on policies an…

2 Women Killed Over Witchcraft Claims in Tanzania

Herman Meza, Shinyanga
A mob brutally killed Nhumba Nolelaga, 38, and Mwanandama Ndama, 55, at Idahina village in the district last week.

The mob implicated the two in the death of a seven-year-old boy, Maduhu Masunga, who was bitten by a black mamba while sleeping and died instantly.

Rumours had spread during the funeral of Masunga that he did not die, but was rather mysteriously turned into a ghost to work in the women's farms.

Information had it that the boy was seen alive under the deceased women's beds, leading to the mob to demand the truth from the women, lest they be killed.

The acting Shinyanga regional police commander,Mr Charles Nyanda, confirmed the incidents.

Another woman who had disappeared mysteriously from her home only to be found unconscious at a paddy field in the same village alleged that she was superstitiously kidnapped by Nolelaga and Ndama.

Fed up with allegations leveled against the duo, the Idahina villagers killed the suspects and burnt their bodies.


Challenges of Women Taxi Drivers in Botswana

Dan Mosekaphofu

KANYE: They continue to be victims of gender stereotypes that have corrupted the minds of the world.

Their capabilities continue to be doubted despite the fact that they have proven their worth for all and sundry to see. The world unfortunately judges them harshly and prefers to categorise them as males in the event that they are recognised.

From conductors, they have slowly but surely progressed to be the "queens" behind the steering wheel. But instead of applauding them for such an achievement, the world shuns them.

These are the women taxi drivers who unfortunately are also given the famous tag of 'Botaxi man or combi man'- a clear sign of the brainwashing that our society is still reeling from.

Kanye's 26-year-old Keabetswe Rabasimane is one of the women taxi drivers in the sprawling village. She reveals that this trade continues to prove to be a menace for her and her colleagues in this male-dominated sector. "I don't know why the society…

How Obstetric Fistula is Turning Malawian Women to Outcasts.

Women suffering from obstetric fistula in Malawi received free medical care to reverse their condition during the country's Fistula Week.

Between Oct. 12 and 18, the Malawian government, with technical and financial assistance from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), treated more than 130 destitute women who have no or little access to health care services.

Lausi Adamu, from Makanjira in Malawi's lake district of Mangochi, who does not know her exact age, has suffered from fistula for the last 25 years. Her affliction came to an end last week, when she received an operation free of charge to stop her ailment.

Adamu told IPS reporter Pilirani Semu-Banda about her life with the disease as she recuperated in hospital after the operation.

How did you develop fistula?

It was 25 years ago, when I was in labour for three days while giving birth to my first and only child at home.

I received no medical care throughout pregnancy, and it was only my mother who was with me during deliv…

Clarion Chukwurah Exposes Female Sexual Exploitation In Nigerian Movie Industry


You started quite early, featuring in a film titled Money Power (Owo Lagba), that was in the early 80’s. How has it been since then?

Yes, the journey has been quite eventful. I featured in Money Power in 1982, I was just 14 and since then I have done several other plays. I appeared in Mirror In The Sun, a soap opera produced by Lola Fani-Kayode. Again, I have featured in a couple of home videos. It’s been quite interesting. I have equally featured in two stage plays, Yemoja and Idemili, both by National Troupe of Nigeria

Could you compare the level of professionalism and production quality of works then with what obtains in the industry now?

Money Power is a far cry from what we have today, as far as movie production is concerned. Money Power was shot in form of a film(16mm), and not in video format. So, the quality is higher.

You did call me after Sunday Punch published the story on the glut currently being experienced in Nollywood, and said you wanted to make some other reve…

Is McCain Admitting Palin is a Liability? Wishes He Chose Charlie Crist

A friend of mine suggested weeks ago that John McCain did not pick Sarah Palin as his VP running mate. She believes McCain's people picked Palin. And according to this, I'm inclined to believe that Palin was not McCain's first choice: Sen. John McCain acknowledged in an exclusive interview Friday that he probably would be better positioned in must-win Florida if he had picked Gov. Charlie Crist as his running mate.

"Charlie, because he's so popular, he probably would have made a significant difference,'' McCain said in an interview with the St. Petersburg Times and Bay News 9. Is McCain saying Palin isn't popular, or is he saying she's not as popular as his people first thought she was?

The media has called Palin a liability and even conservative blogger Andrew Allison saysJohn McCain chose Sarah Palin, so he has no-one to blame but himself, but as I have said before, why didn't they vet her thoroughly? Why didn't they find out that she knew …

How Angelina Jolie Stole Brad Pitt From Jennifer Aniston

Lizzie Smith

Angelina Jolie has admitted that she and Brad Pitt fell in love while he was still married to Jennifer Aniston.

Hollywood's most glamorous couple have always stressed that they only fell for one another AFTER Brad had split from the Friends star.

But Jolie has now confessed that they found love on the set of Mr and Mrs Smith in 2004, when rumours of romance first emerged but long before Brad's break-up.

However, it was not clear if the 'confession' was a bid for more openness - or an accidental slip-up during an interview with The New York Times which she was 'jet-lagged'.

The revelation came during a seemingly innocent aside that she is excited about her children being one-day able to see their mother and father in Mr And Mrs Smith.

Tellingly, she explained: 'Not a lot of people get to see a movie where their parents fell in love.'

But Angelina will not be afraid of a public backlash, as she insisted: 'I live in a bit of a bubble when it come…

Traditional Iranian Wedding Ceremony

There are two stages to a Persian marriage. Most often both take place on the same day, but occasionally there could be some time between the two. The first is called "Aghd", the legal process of getting married, when both the bride and bridegroom and their guardians sign a marriage contract. The second stage is "Jashn-e Aroosi", the wedding reception - the actual feasts and the celebrations, which traditionally lasted from 3 to 7 days. The ceremony takes place in a specially decorated room with flowers and a beautiful and elaborately decorated spread on the floor called "Sofreh-ye Aghd". Traditionally Sofreh-ye Aghd is set on the floor facing east, the direction of sunrise (light). Consequently when bride and bridegroom are seated at the head of Sofreh-ye Aghd they will be facing "The Light". By custom Aghd would normally take place at bride's parents/guardians home. The arrival of the guests, who are to be witnesses to the marriage of the …

The Traditional Role of a Woman In Ghana

Women in premodern Ghanaian society were seen as bearers of children, retailers of fish, and farmers. Within the traditional sphere, the childbearing ability of women was explained as the means by which lineage ancestors were allowed to be reborn. Barrenness was, therefore, considered the greatest misfortune. In precolonial times, polygamy was encouraged, especially for wealthy men. Anthropologists have explained the practice as a traditional method for well-to-do men to procreate additional labor. In patrilineal societies, dowry received from marrying off daughters was also a traditional means for fathers to accumulate additional wealth. Given the male dominance in traditional society, some economic anthropologists have explained a female's ability to reproduce as the most important means by which women ensured social and economic security for themselves, especially if they bore male c…

Sarah Palin, A Clash of Knowledge Vs Mindless Populism

The question, the McCain campaign later acknowledged, was a fair one. In one of her sit-downs with Katie Couric of CBS News, Sarah Palin was asked to discuss a Supreme Court decision with which she disagreed. "Well, let's see," Palin replied, pausing. "There's, of course in the great history of America there have been rulings, that's never going to be absolute consensus by every American. And there are those issues, again, like Roe v. Wade, where I believe are best held on a state level and addressed there. So you know, going through the history of America, there would be others but …" Couric followed up: "Can you think of any?" Palin, still pondering, said: "Well, I could think of … any again, that could be best dealt with on a more local level. Maybe I would take issue with. But, you know, as mayor, and then as governor and even as a vice president, if I'm so privileged to serve, wouldn't be in a position of changing those thing…

Mexican actress Salma Hayek, Tetanus Crusader

Hollywood mom Salma Hayek is lending her star power to a UNICEF campaign to eradicate tetanus in mothers and babies around the world within four years. Hayek, a paid spokeswoman for Pampers' tetanus vaccine program, recounted her experiences during a recent trip to the West African nation of Sierra Leone, where she met with tetanus victims. "One of the things that was very moving about the trip was to see 15-year-old girls, really young, taking responsibility for their lives and their children before they're born by saying 'I am going to be healthy, I am going to take this vaccination,'" she told journalists at the United Nations on Thursday. "I had no idea how much this was going to really personally move me," added the 42-year-old star of films including Desperado and Frida. The Pampers-UNICEF partnership has already provided over 50 million vaccines to mothers and babies in developing countries, where tetanus kills up to 140,000 infants and 30,0…

Brangelina Back To The USA

Hey, everyone! Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have arrived in America for the first time since the birth of their twins!

This is very important news, and we’ll tell you why soon. Anyway, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie arrived in New York for the first time since the birth of their last children so that Angelina can promote her new movie The Changeling.

We said we’d tell you why it was so important that Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie were returning to America, didn’t we? Well, alright, we will - it’s important because, um, well, Brad Pitt is, um… and Angelina sort of… no. We’ve got nothing. Literally nothing. Maybe they left the gas on or something. We genuinely couldn’t care less.

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s newborn twins haven’t been on this planet for long, but the time they have spent on it has almost exclusively been in France. Imagine that - 10 weeks surrounded by nothing but onion trees, shrugging mechanics, afternoon naps and excessive female bodyhair. That’s tantamount to child abus…